Jobs in Tourism

May 14, 2007 – A study spearheaded by the Development Academy of the Philippines claimed that more than 1.142 million jobs have been created in the tourism sector over the past three years alone.

Gonzalo Jurado, who was a part of a team of economists tapped by the academy to assess government performance in achieving the president's 10-point agenda, said the tourism jobs were part of the 5.65 million jobs and livelihood opportunities generated from 2004 to 2006.

The study said more than 2 million jobs were created in the housing sector during the three-year period; 941,499 in microfinance; 845,930 in agribusiness; 194,611 in infrastructure; and 13,082 in environment.

Tourism and housing were among the fastest-growing sectors that have been credited for creating new jobs and helping reduce the country's unemployment problem.

"Tourism is the way to go," said Dennis Arroyo, the policy and planning director of the National Economic and Development Authority.

Arroyo said the 5,700-hectare Hamilo Coast being developed by the SM Group in Batangas province and the planned US$10-billion entertainment city along Roxas Boulevard will create thousands of jobs.

"This is the medium-term sector to watch out for," Arroyo said.

In April alone, the Department of Tourism said thousands of jobs were made available for new applicants during a job fair in Cebu City .

Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said more jobs in tourism will be available, as 3,000 additional hotel and resort rooms are expected to be completed this year to help accommodate more than 3 million international visitors that will visit the country, on top of domestic tourists.

Economic Planning Secretary and NEDA director general Romulo Neri earlier said the growth in tourism can open livelihood opportunities for the Filipino people and wipe out the unemployment problem.

To exploit the opportunities in tourism, Neri pushed for the implementation of an open air policy at Clark and Subic , which would attract about two million foreign tourists in the medium term.

Neri said a job is created for every foreign tourist who visits the Philippines . A foreign tourist is estimated to spend about $1,000 on the average for a two-week stay in the Philippines , which is nearly equivalent to the average annual per capita income in the country.

Two million tourists, Neri said, can create two million jobs that will resolve the unemployment problem faster than the call center industry could.

The NEDA chief said call centers and other business process outsourcing companies could only accommodate 300,000 employees, but tourism has the chance to generate more than 10 million jobs.

NEDA is pushing for the liberalization of the air transport sector and has openly castigated the Civil Aeronautics Board for restricting the flights of regional budget carriers that are using Clark as a stopover point. Roderick T. dela Cruz 

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